Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army is no longer eligible to be tried through traditional courts in Uganda.
Henry Oryem Okello, the State Minister for International Relations, told a news conference in Kampala today that Kony lost his right to trial through the Ugandan court system and the Mat Oput reconciliation mechanism when he refused to sign a peace agreement with government. Okello said that if Kony is arrested he will automatically be handed over to the International Criminal Court for trial.
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Joseph Kony and his commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court for a range of offenses including crimes against humanity, war crimes and child abduction. During peace talks between the LRA and the Government of Uganda from 2005 to 2008 the indictments against Kony were a sticking point in negotiations for peace.
In an attempt to address the stalemate, it was recommended that some of the LRA rebels could be tried through the High Court or reconciled with war affected communities through traditional methods.
A peace deal was however never signed and Kony and his officers retreated deeper into the Garamba Forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo where they set up new bases.
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Louis Moreno Ocampo, told journalists in Kampala that it is time to stop the LRA atrocities once and for all. He said that the trial of junior LRA rebels could take place through the High Court, but insisted that Kony must be made to answer for his crimes before the world court.
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